It's an important question.
According to some, we are a series of neurons firing away and making random decisions all on impulse. There is no such thing as free will, karma, destiny, personality, or emotion. Everything is done electronically. We are like floating amoebas that cover and swallow our food, occasionally splitting for the purpose of survival or for the viewing of a superior Martian through a microscope.
You can put two 25 year old men under any kind of scan, and unless they are under-developed or sociopathic, the brains will look almost exactly alike.
While they may be mirror images, one of those men may be allergic to dairy. Another will prefer blondes. One may freeze in anything below seventy degrees and the other never puts anything other than a hoodie on, even when it's twenty below.
Genetics can play a big factor in this. Being a chip off the old block is something we live by. And with addictions, it's also something that we die by.
For centuries, scientists have debated nature versus nurture.
When little goslings (not the Ryan variety) are born, they imprint on the first being they see. They imitate and emulate the actions of their imprinted parent figure. If the mama goose picked up a cigarette and started smoking, eventually so would the goslings.
So who hasn't seen the cigarette commercials where the young son wants to be a chip off the old block and picks up the pack of cigarettes after his pop lights one up?
Studies show that the likelihood of a child smoking after a parent smokes runs at about 70%. But if a parent quits smoking before the child is born, or they quit before the child starts, the chances of that child/teen/adult ever smoking drops down to 18%.
The children still have that "addictive" gene, why aren't they smoking?
Because we are somewhat the "monkey see, monkey do", even as we grow older.
My mother has this little ironic quirk to her mouth. When someone says something ridiculous, she purses her lips and pushes her mouth to her right side. I have seen her do this thousands of times (yes, I do say those ridiculous things). I have no idea why she does it.
One day, one of my friends was saying something ridiculous to me, and then laughed at me, "Why do you always make that face?" She asked me.
I reached up and felt my mouth, already knowing what I would find, because I had been doing it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Yes, I was pursing my lips and pushing my mouth to the right side of my face.
It's not a normal thing to do. but my mommy does it, so I do too!
It's not that I was genetically programmed through DNA or my neurons to send my mouth to the side of my face. It was that I was nurtured to believe that it was something normal to do.
When I was going to school for my degree in psychology, I spent a lot of time listening to professors trying to teach me about the mind, but in the same breath telling me that there was no God and there was no Soul in a human being.
Then I took a class in Meditation and Therapy.
The professor had spent years in
Asia learning about meditation and he truly believed in
the soul. The meditation he taught was all about strengthening the soul and the
At one point, he had us close our eyes and we slowly envisioned this white cord coming from the base of our spine. He started linking us one by one to each other, and then expanding our cords outside the room and through the building. When he was done, we had a spider's web uniting the universe.
It was a pretty intense meditation. I have to confess, I bailed before he was done. I was just about ready to let out a really loud howl from all the emotion flooding through me. I opened my eyes and saw the rest of the class visibly weeping.
You can call it emotions, drama, or even overkill.
But if I ever doubted that I had a soul, that one moment changed any doubts. I am a human being with a soul.
The meditative state, and the ability to reach a higher form of consciousness shows a transcendental elevation of the spirit and soul that mimics an alternate reality beyond life, and beyond what we know of ourselves.
Surprisingly, Buddhism discourages the thought surrounding Atman/Anatta (I, Self, or Soul). They believe that if the immortal soul is eternal, then rebirth and growth of the human self can't happen. And yet, what element in a human can transcend the body and then mind to become the next life?
In fact, some Christian sects decry the thought that a soul might exist, regardless of Matthew 10: 28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
These sects claim that soul is derived from Greek and Hebrew to mean a "living being or creature."
And yet Jesus did say that dying is not the problem, but losing one's soul is the problem.
In Matthew 22: 37, Jesus separated and named all the values of man by saying: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Ironically, Dr. Stuart Hameroff, after studies under MRIs, when the pulse stops, no blood is running, and there are no more brainwaves, the microtubules lose their quantum state, but the information in the microtubules is retained.
When the consciousness returns, the memory returns. In fact, the white light memories come from a death state where the body is gone, but the microtubules in the brain are still working. Hameroff says the memories are indefinite and can live outside the body in the form of a soul.
But what, in an everyday life, can decipher the mystery of the soul?
Not all of us have MRI machines to toy with death. And after we die, although we will know the answer, we can't come back and define it for the living.
So let's take something from circumstance and apply it to the thought of the soul:
There is a fireman standing outside a burning building. The building is burning and he knows it will be a simmering ash in a few minutes.
He hears a child cry inside the building and looks up and sees the child waving her hand from a smoky window begging for rescue.
The neurons in his mind have already made the logical choice. He is not going into the building. It's a sign of self preservation and it's LOGICAL.
His heart has already made it's decision. It is already racing one hundred miles per minute from all his hard work, and it is EXHAUSTED,
The fireman charges into the building.
What made the decision?
We already know that the heart and mind had decided not to run into that building, but something else overrode the decision and he ran into the flames regardless.
People believe that the body can survive without the heart. The heart in the human body can be transplanted/replaced.
Neurons can live outside the body as well. I have seen a human neuron being stimulated under a microscope. But that neuron is nothing without the control of its master. It doesn't know what its function is unless there is something else telling it what to do.
I think that an important part of a human's soul is the ties that said human feels for other humans.
Having watched interviews of sociopaths, who feel no ties to the human race, I sincerely doubt that every human has a soul.
Part of the imprinting process involves the creation of the soul. It is the beginning of learning to love one soul (the mother) that brings about the beginning of a sense of belonging. Without this feeling, the human doesn't learn love, and in the process, doesn't develop a soul.
So you already know my conclusion, based on science, emotion, faith, and spirituality.
And by the power vested in me, (by my blog, because it is MY blog) I now pronounce you body, mind, and soul...